Revenge of #KeystoneXL: labor union starts donating to Republicans

November 9, 2015
Feeling rejected.

Hates union jobs

Last Friday at the White House, President Obama finally did what he’s wanted to do for many years: kill the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would have safely carried Canadian crude to ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

In the process, he also killed prospects for tens of thousands of good-paying jobs on the pipeline itself and in supporting industries. Naturally, the relevant union is not happy. How unhappy are they?

They’re giving money to Republicans:

One of the nation’s largest unions accused President Obama of betraying workers and the labor movement by blocking the Keystone Pipeline and is backing up its rhetoric with campaign donations to Republicans.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America said that Obama’s bow to environmentalists meant that he was more concerned with “elitists” and “his legacy” than with helping workers provide for their families.

“President Obama today demonstrated that he cares more about kowtowing to green-collar elitists than he does about creating desperately needed, family-supporting, blue-collar jobs,”said Terry O’Sullivan, the union’s president, in a release following Obama’s Friday announcement.

(…)

LIUNA represents about 500,000 workers in the construction industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the 2008 economic collapse. Keystone, which was expected to create 42,000 construction jobs, has been awaiting approval for about seven years. O’Sullivan said that Obama’s attempt to minimize job gains demonstrated his “utter disdain” for blue-collar workers.

Dear LIUNA members, and, indeed, private sector union members across the nation: the President and the Democrats have just sent you a message loud and clear — they prefer the money given by Green billionaires such as Tom Steyer and the Hollywood glitterati to your donations. They are willing to sacrifice your jobs to keep those people happy.

We on the Right do care, however. I’m not saying we’re likely to ever be best friends –we disagree over things like free trade and closed-shop collective bargaining, after all– but, here’s the thing: We want you to have jobs. Good ones.

We want the nation to prosper, and when you prosper, so does America. If the Canadians are still willing to do Keystone when a Republican comes to office in 2017, it will take us about 20 seconds to approve it — and other measures that get the government out of the way of job creation in the energy field and other industries.

When election day comes next November, pause for a moment and remember just who threw you under that oh-so-crowded bus.

And then vote your interests.

via Moe Lane

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Bit by bit, Obama repeals #Obamacare, so Republicans don’t have to. Updated: Sebelius denies delay?

March 12, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.

Until last week, when it was done in secret:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.

Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.

Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.

Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one the Democrats thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.

Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.

None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.

This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back  and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?

The Republican-dominated House has voted roughly 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.

Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.

via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech

PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.

PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.

Footnote:
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…

UPDATE: Sebelius denying there’s been a delay to the individual mandate? Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS: those “rogue agents” aren’t going to go quietly under the bus

June 3, 2013

Ben Franklin once said “Three can keep a secret, if two are dead.” The same holds true for scandals, particularly when one party tries desperately to make the other take the fall, as the administration has in the burgeoning IRS scandal. The risk with that strategy is that it gives the assigned patsy every reason to start talking.

Which is what those “rogue agents” are starting to do:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) revealed new testimony from IRS employees in Cincinnati involved with the IRS’s political targeting today on CNN’s State of the Union.
 
The Committee released excerpts from bipartisan transcribed interviews between Committee Investigators and Cincinnati IRS employees. In these interviews Cincinnati IRS employees reject the White House’s claim that the targeting was merely work of “rogue” agents and say targeting of conservative political groups came from Washington, D.C.

(…)

Q: In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups? 
A: In March of 2010, I was made aware.
 
******
Q: Okay.  Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?  
A: Yes.
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made? 
A: Sometime in early March of 2010.

March, 2010, is also when the head of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, which covers IRS employees, had a meeting at the White House with President Obama. Hmmm…

Back to the transcript, emphasis added:

Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington?
A:  [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t ‑‑ Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper.  So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C.
Q: When was this, what time frame?
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.

******

Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.
A: Yes.
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.  
A: Yes, or parts of them.  

******

Q: Okay.  So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.
A: Mm‑hmm.
Q: And that was unusual.  Did you say that?
A: Yes.
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right?
A: Correct.

So it wasn’t just looking for keywords and taking random samples: if what this agent says is true, specific groups and specific people were targeted. It would be very interesting to know just who these people were, and who asked for their files. I suspect that question will be prominent in this week’s hearings.

Meanwhile, someone identified only as a “more senior” employee had this to say to the committee’s investigators:

Q: But you specifically recall that the BOLO [“Be On The Lookout”] terms included “Tea Party?”  
A: Yes, I do.  
Q: And it was your understanding ‑‑ was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Tea Party groups?  
A: That is correct.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?  
A: Yes, it was.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Republican groups?  
A: Yes, it was. 

Don’t be surprised if more people start spilling what they know, the higher this goes.

via Jim Geraghty.

RELATED: Some other items for you to chew over on your lunch break —

Former IRS Commissioner Shulman, who was at the White House so often he probably had a guest room set aside for sleepovers, is married to Susan Anderson, who works at the leftist Public Campaign. Not too eyebrow-raising of itself, until you learn a) that Public Campaign received a lot of money from groups hostile to Tea Party and conservative goals (see prior link) and b) you discover that Anderson herself held training sessions for the Occupy movement and posted tweets showing herself to be very hostile toward the Right at just the very time her husband’s IRS had a BOLO out on conservative groups.

But, naturally, they kept their work and private lives separate. Really. No doubt about it. Care to buy a used bridge?

Finally, remember Lois “I did nothing wrong but I’m pleading the 5th” Lerner? It seems her animus toward conservatives goes way back at least to her days at the FEC, where she badgered a Republican candidate to promise never to run for office again in return for dropping an investigation against him.

One wonders if she was slapping a paid of brass knuckles against her palm at the time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi consulate massacre: Obama knew who did it within two hours and lied to us. UPDATE: emails withheld from Senate?

October 24, 2012

US Consulate, Benghazi

Dear Mr. President: Let this be a teaching moment for you not to throw the intelligence and foreign service communities under the bus. They know things you’d rather be kept secret. Try to make them the fall guys, and those things will …somehow… become public:

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

(Emphasis added)

It wasn’t just “for days” that the administration tried to blame the disaster on a video few had even heard of; with very few exceptions, it went on for two weeks, including an infomercial in Pakistan bought and paid for with US taxpayer money and a presidential address before the UN General Assembly. The film’s maker was rousted out of his home by the sheriffs at night and made a public scapegoat, his free speech rights gut shot and left to bleed.

But it didn’t end after just a few days or even a few weeks, or even after US officials finally acknowledged what our “lying eyes” had been telling us all along, that this was an al Qaeda terrorist operation. Let’s roll tape and review a moment from the second Obama-Romney debate that the president I’m sure wishes we’d all forget:

Remember those first 45 seconds.

The three emails (via PJM) mentioned in the Reuters report detail the early stages of the attack on the consulate. They arrived within the first two hours of a battle that lasted seven hours. There are two key takeaways here:

  • First, amidst all the addresses in the headers, note “nss.eop.gov.” That is the White House Situation Room, President Obama’s emergency command center. It is almost unthinkable that Obama himself wasn’t informed.
  • Second, the subject line of the last email, beginning “UPDATE 2,” reported that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack. Ansar al Sharia is al Qaeda’s subsidiary in Libya.

In other words, within 120 minutes of the battle’s beginning, while there still might have been time to send help and save lives, the president, who almost certainly was informed, instead went to bed, lied to us the next day in the Rose Garden (and for weeks after), and that night went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

As I’ve written before, these lies could not have been meant to keep secrets from the enemy; al Qaeda knew what they had done. It wasn’t to protect a retaliatory strike, for none was underway. (We were still “investigating,” trying to find out what happened, y’see.)

No, the only purpose of this repeated, serial lying from multiple administration officials, from the president to Secretary of State Clinton to Ambassador Rice to Mouth of Sauron Press Secretary Jay Carney and God knows how many others, was to lie to us, in order to protect Obama’s reelection.

Bear in mind that Obama had spent months spiking the ball over killing bin Laden, culminating at the Democratic convention in Charlotte early last September and proclaiming that al Qaeda was crippled. Then the Benghazi attack occurred, clearly planned in advance, clearly an al Qaeda operation, and, so clearly that even a blind man couldn’t miss it, demolishing Obama’s one great claim to foreign policy success, something he desperately needed in his race against Governor Romney.

And thus the “fables” about a “spontaneous reaction to a hateful video” and “no evidence of terrorism” were born. Thus the midnight knock on the door for guy who had made the video. The only question is who came up with the idea. Axelrod? Jarrett? Cutter? Obama, himself?

We’ll probably find out in a tell-all memoir after the election, when all these wretches are in retirement and pointing fingers at each other.

But I doubt we’ll ever find out who released these emails. That’s a secret that will be kept.

UPDATE: Oh, this is special. Apparently the Senate Intelligence Committee had been asking for the emails for weeks, but the White House –I just know you’ll be shocked– stonewalled them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


As his Mideast policies crumble, Obama to go to the UN… to blame a movie

September 23, 2012

I was going to say “unbelievable,” but, really, it’s all too believable, the only way the schmuck knows how to act. His Middle East policies going up in flames, our embassies besieged, our diplomats murdered, and with credible evidence that we had prior warning, that security arrangements were incompetent, and that this was a pre-planned terrorist attack, President Obama reaches out for a scapegoat.

Only, this time, he’s going to do it in front of the entire world:

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor previews the president’s speech to the UN General Assembly next week:

“UNGA always provides an opportunity for the President to put the international situation in context, and to put forward a vision of US leadership. I would certainly expect the President to address the recent unrest in the Muslim world, and the broader context of the democratic transitions in the Arab World.”

(…)

“As he has in recent days, the President will make it clear that we reject the views in this video, while also underscoring that violence is never acceptable…

Pathetic. He’s still equating a badly made video with murderous violence, in effect saying “We understand why this happened” and placing the blame on free speech, rather than on the perpetrators of the violence.  While almost everyone outside his administration acknowledges that the video was merely a pretext for something that had been in the works for at least weeks, possibly a revenge hit, the President of the United States is going to stand before the world and say “You’re right to be angry, but it wasn’t us! It was that guy over there! Didn’t you see us roust him for you in the middle of the night? Please don’t us!”

Utterly contemptible and craven. Washington, Adams, and Jefferson are spinning in their graves.

November can’t come fast enough.

Via Power Line, which has a great quote from Churchill.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: top Holder aide going under the bus? And no, Bush didn’t “do it, too.”

November 1, 2011

It looks like a close ally of Attorney General Eric Holder, head of the Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, has decided (1) to throw himself under the fabled bus in order to protect his boss from the unfolding fiasco of Operation Fast and Furious:

The Obama administration appears to be attempting to defend Attorney General Eric Holder as the Justice Department dumped more than 650 pages worth of Operation Fast and Furious documents on congressional investigators late Monday.

There are two reasons why the timing of this release is significant: first, 28 members of Congress are currently calling on Holder to resign immediately. Second, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday — and this appears to be an attempt to divert pressure for Fast and Furious away from Holder.

The new documents, according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, “indicate that contrary to previous denials by the Justice Department, the criminal division has a great deal of culpability in sweeping the previous Wide Receiver strategy under the rug and then allowing the subsequent Operation Fast and Furious to continue without asking key questions.”

“Most importantly, officials raised very appropriate questions related to Operation Wide Receiver at the same time that many of these same officials were receiving briefings on Operation Fast and Furious,” Grassley said in a statement. “It begs the question why they didn’t ask the same important policy questions about an ongoing case being run out of the same field division.”

Operation Wide Receiver was a Bush administration program similar in nature to Operation Fast and Furious. In a statement he gave after the release of the new documents, Breuer took responsibility for not having learned from the mistakes made during Wide Receiver and implementing the failed tactics again under Fast and Furious.

“When the allegations related to Operation Fast and Furious became public earlier this year, the leadership of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona repeatedly assured individuals in the Criminal Division and the leadership of the Department of Justice that those allegations were not true,” Breuer said. “As a result, I did not draw a connection between the unacceptable tactics used by the ATF years earlier in Operation Wide Receiver and the allegations made about Operation Fast and Furious, and therefore did not, at that time, alert others within Department leadership of any similarities between the two. That was a mistake, and I regret not having done so.”

That reads like a political suicide note to me, how about you? Even if he is pulling the “I accept responsibility but no blame” scam.

Before we go any further, let’s set the record straight, since it looks like Team Hopenchange is setting up a “Bush did it too!” excuse and Grassley may be buying into it. The referenced Bush-era program, Operation Wide Receiver, was a stupid idea that, when it went wrong, was stopped by responsible adults in DC. Per Bob Owens at PJMedia:

In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. Like Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, the operation apparently backfired.

Some firearms in Wide Receiver were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, it seems the illegal purchasers seemed more than slightly knowledgeable of the ATF and how to take their aerial and electronic tracking procedures down.

Knowing the time aloft numbers for virtually all planes used in government surveillance, the buyers had a simple method of getting their purchases across the border undetected. They simply drove four-hour loops around the area.

As surveillance planes were forced to return to base for refueling, the smugglers simply turned and sprinted their cargo across the border.

The RFID tags also turned out to be problematic.

Rather than making large enough holes for the tags to be laid out inside weapons, agents force-fit them into the rifles.

That cramming caused the antennae to be folded, reducing the effective range of the tags. And an already short battery life (36-48 hours maximum) meant that should purchasers allow the firearms to sit, the tracking devices eliminated themselves.

Once it was realized that Wide Receiver was having the unintended result of letting guns slip across the border and that the plans to track them had failed, the operation was stopped.

In the case of Fast and Furious, however, there was no plan or capability to track the guns, and the US government deliberately facilitated their transit to Mexico — including possibly selling guns directly to cartel buyers. See the difference? The Bush administration stopped Wide Receiver after it realized the operation was a failure and around 450 guns had reached Mexico. That’s bad enough, but Operation Fast and Furious represents a quantum leap in boneheadedness, because getting guns to Mexico was the objective. And it succeeded, to the tune of at least 2,000 weapons and maybe as many as 12,000. (2)

So let’s not fall for this latest variation on “It’s Bush’s fault!”, shall we?

Meanwhile, Lanny Breuer is scheduled to testify today. This is no low-level, coffee-fetching flunky we’re talking about; as head of the Criminal Division, Breuer is an appointee of the President and reports directly to Eric Holder’s chief deputy and, you can bet, often briefs Holder, himself. If he’s being set up to take the fall, it means they’re worried the trail leads straight to Holder — and perhaps to his boss.

The timing of the document dump and Breuer’s mea culpa is interesting (in that Washington way), because it was recently announced that AG Holder himself would testify before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8th. This latest development could be a show born of panic, meant to build a firebreak between Holder and the Gunwalker scandal: Breuer confesses “mistakes were made” and resigns.

Then Holder can testify that he was “shocked, shocked” to learn what was going on and that “lessons will be learned” and “steps taken” — and then he’ll breathe a sigh of relief over his narrow escape when he gets back to his limo.

All nice and neat and clean.

And no one will have answered for two dead US federal agents and over 200 Mexicans.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Gunwalker. More at Hot Air. Bob’s just not buying it.

Footnotes:
(1) Or was encouraged to, for the greater good. This is Washington, after all.
(2) Which probably doesn’t include the count of grenades.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Obama throw Japan under the bus?

January 23, 2011

It sure smells that way. During the state visit of Chinese tyrant President Hu Jintao, a Chinese blogger asked a key White House official about America’s position over a territorial dispute with Japan:

The United States recognizes no claims to the sovereignty of a set of islets in the East China Sea, an adviser to the U.S. president said Friday.

“The U.S. does not have position on the question of sovereignty regarding the issue of the Diaoyu Islands,” Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications in the White House, said in a video conference with Chinese bloggers set up by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

He was responding to Chinese blogger Ma Xiaolin, who questioned the United States taking the side of Japan on the issue by including the islets under the Japan-U.S. security treaty.

“We do not recognize the sovereignty claims by neither China nor Japan,” Rhodes said.

But, as L. Douglas Garrett points out at Competing Hypotheses, that highlighted statement simply isn’t true:

First, that isn’t historically correct. The U.S. in fact was the author of the postwar partitioning of territory in the area, and specifically mandated their return-by-transfer as part of the Okinawa reversion to Japan. P.R. Chinese and ROC claims to the area postdate that.

Second, it isn’t correct as extant policy. The status quo is expressly covered in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty (1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security with the United States, under which the territory is specified as part of the territory of Japan to be defended, as amended since reversion).

Keep that in mind: the United States is obligated to take military action should some nation (i.e., China) try to seize them by force.

Japan calls the islands the Senkakus and maintains that they were terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”) when annexed in 1895, during the First Sino-Japanese War. China, on the other hand, claims those islands were coerced from it as part of the treaty that ended the war. There are good background pieces on this dispute here and here. Though themselves uninhabited, the islands are important to both nations (and to Taiwan) for the control they give over the surrounding sea lanes and potentially large underwater oil and gas fields. A recent incident in which the Japanese Coast Guard seized a Chinese fishing trawler off the islands last September brought this dispute to the forefront, again.

Thus, it seems more than a coincidence that the President’s Deputy National Security Adviser would suddenly equivocate on past bipartisan American policy during a visit from our biggest creditor. Maybe this was the price for the pandas?

And, let’s face it: Japan wouldn’t be the first US ally tossed under the bus in an act of appeasement. Poland and the Czech Republic were both knifed in the back over missile defense. Israel has been under intense pressure in order to please the Arab states. One of our closest allies, Great Britain, which has troops fighting at our side in Afghanistan, found out we didn’t have their back over the Falkland Islands. Japan is, apparently, just the latest example of the Lightworker’s brilliant foreign policy, by which he promised to restore our standing in the world.

But such betrayals in pursuit of our enemies’ favors come at a price: our allies, the nations we rely on in a crisis, will more and more wonder if they can depend on us in a pinch and may seek “other arrangements.” In the case at hand, Japan is the foundation of our policy in East Asia and the Pacific; without its support, our position vis-a-vis China in the western Pacific would be much weaker, perhaps even untenable.

This one incident will not cause Japan to walk out on our alliance in a huff, of course, but consider it as another example that should make chancelleries around the world wonder whether they should stick their necks out for us, when we won’t protect their interests.

Smart Power, indeed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)